8 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food in 2021

Whether your cat struggles with a sensitive stomach or you simply want to try the more naturalistic approach to feeding your cat, limited ingredient cat food is becoming more praised and popular. The first step to keeping your cat healthy is to provide them with balanced food that meets their needs. Limited cat foods can offer your cat a complete diet without the addition of unnecessary or potentially harmful ingredients. We understand that it can be difficult to find a cat food that truly has limited ingredients.

Fortunately, in this article, we will be reviewing some of the best-limited ingredient cat foods on the market today. Each product in this review has been certified as a limited ingredient food by the manufacturer, which means that these are products you can guarantee will not expose your cat to excess additives.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

The 8 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

1. Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food – Best Overall

Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food

Protein content: 30.0%
Fiber content: 4.5%
Fat content: 12.0%
Flavor: Salmon & green pea

The best overall product in this category is the Natural Balance salmon and green pea flavored limited ingredient cat food. This food has been formulated specifically to provide your cat with a complete and balanced diet without any excess harmful or unnecessary ingredients. This cat food is grain-free and contains a single animal protein source which is beneficial for cats who have sensitive stomachs. The ingredients aim to support your cat’s fur and skin to produce the appearance of a shiny coat. The main ingredient is chicken which is a reliable protein source for proper muscular development in cats.

No fillers have been added to the food, even after the formula change. This food can be fed to cats who have sensitivities towards other foods or if you prefer to feed your cat foods that contain no unnecessary additives.


  • Grain-free
  • Balanced diet
  • Wholesome ingredients

2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Cat Diet – Best Value

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Cat Diet

Protein content: 30.0%
Fiber content: 6.0%
Fat content: 14.0%
Flavor: Duck & potato

Blue Buffalo Basics is our best product for the value of money. In comparison to competitors’ products, this cat food is on the more affordable side while offering a decent portion of cat food that can last a good few months. This limited ingredient food features real duck as a single animal protein source with the addition of pumpkin and potatoes for gentle digestion. This product contains no gluten-containing grains which make it ideal for cats with sensitive stomachs. Natural fiber sources have been included to meet the natural fiber requirements without any allergen-containing ingredients such as chicken, beef, corn, or wheat.

This product also provides your cat with a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that have been selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Which makes it a reliable cat food you can trust. A downside to this cat food is that it does contain products that may be undesirable for some cat owners.


  • Affordable
  • Ideal for sensitive cats
  • No-allergy formula

3. Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice

Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food Rabbit Recipe

Protein content: 35.5%
Fiber content: 4.0%
Fat content: 16.5%
Flavor: Rabbit

Our premium choice in this category is the Instinct limited ingredient dry cat food. This cat food has so many holistic benefits to offer your cat. This natural cat food was created for sensitive cats who are prone to a wide range of allergies when it comes to their diet. It is the first raw coated kibble, and each piece is coated in freeze-dried raw ingredients for picky eaters. The main noticeable ingredient is a rabbit which has been chosen for its easy digestibility while providing your cat with all the essential amino acids they require. Each raw ingredient has been minimally processed and packed with protein. A quick look at the guaranteed analysis indicates that this food is low in fat, so it is better suited for obese cats or cats who can maintain a stable weight.


  • Minimal processing
  • First raw coated kibble
  • Complete holistic cat food

4. Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food – Best for Kittens

Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food (1)

Protein content: 42.5%
Fiber content: 3.0%
Fat content: 22.5%
Flavor: Chicken

This food is specifically formulated for kittens under 12 months of age. It contains a range of healthy and organic ingredients that will aid in a young kitten’s growth and development. This is a grain-free cat food that contains natural animal ingredients and nutritious oils. Some other wholesome ingredients that are included are fruits and vegetables. This food contains probiotics for digestive and immune health, with omegas for skin and coat health. This product is great for kittens with sensitive stomachs as it excludes some common allergens like soy, corn, wheat, and grains. This is a natural kitten food that is coated with raw ingredients and packed with chicken protein. It is on the pricier side in comparison to other kitten foods.


  • High in protein
  • Wholesome ingredients
  • Ideal for sensitive kittens

5. Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat Canned Cat Food

Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat Canned Cat Food Turkey

Protein content: 9.0%
Fiber content: 1.4%
Fat content: 5%
Flavor: Turkey

This is a single-sourced animal protein that contains real deboned turkey. The Merrick limited ingredient food is a wet adult cat food with a turkey flavor. It has simple ingredients for cats with food sensitivities and fish is excluded from the formula as it has the potential to trigger allergies in cats. This grain and gluten-free formulation make this wet cat food easy to digest while providing omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin and fur. This food should be served at room temperature but should be refrigerated after its opening to which can last around 2 to 3 days. It is quite expensive for a small portion of canned food, but the overall quality and benefits are worth it. It is a pate cat food, but juicy enough to entice cats that refuse to eat dry cat food.


  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Supports a healthy coat
  • Limited ingredient wet cat food

6. Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Protein content: 34.0%
Fiber content: 4.0%
Fat content: 14%
Flavor: Chicken

The Merricks limited ingredient dry cat food is excellent for cats who are sensitive to certain ingredients. This food targets cats with food allergies and it features a grain-free recipe with a single protein source which is chicken. The main protein source is deboned chicken, and peas and chickpeas have been used to replace grains that are typically used in cat food. This helps to limit any ingredients that can cause digestive issues or allergies in adult cats. Chicken fat has been added as a source of fatty acids which are ideal for cats. This food contains decent protein content, with a low amount of fat and carbohydrate content.


  • Free from artificial ingredients
  • Supports digestive health
  • Grain-free recipe


  • Contains high amounts of plant protein
  • Poor moisture content

7. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Wet Pate Cat Diet

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Wet Pate Cat Diet Indoor Turkey and Potato

Protein content: 8.0%
Fiber content: 1.5%
Fat content: 6.0%
Flavor: Turkey & potato

This limited ingredient pate wet cat food is suitable for cats who have sensitivities towards grain and gluten ingredients. The ingredient list is short, and it is easy to distinguish what exactly is in this food. It features a single source of real turkey to support the energy requirements of an adult cat. This food excludes chicken and beef which are potential allergens in cats. The Blue Buffalo Basics pate cat food is made of the finest ingredients and enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It has a smooth texture and turkey flavor that entices fussy cats who do not enjoy eating dry cat foods. Blue Buffalo Basics uses no wheat products in this formula which is a common thickening agent in other limited ingredient cat foods. This food is helpful for cats who suffer from digestive issues due to poor quality ingredients, and it is also known to help cats with mild allergies. This food should be refrigerated after being opened, however one tin will not last very long once it has been opened and exposed to air. It can also become dehydrated after being exposed to air for a few hours.


  • Grain and gluten-free
  • Limited ingredient recipe
  • Allergy sensitive formula


  • Quickly dehydrates when exposed to air
  • Expensive

8. Instinct Grain-Free Minced Cat Food With Gravy

Instinct Grain-Free Minced Recipe with Real Tuna Wet Cat Food Cup

Protein content: 10.0%
Fiber content: 1.0%
Fat content: 2.0%
Flavor: Tuna

This minced cat food is layered in gravy to add to a wet cat food texture. The individual mince pieces are finely cut and more textured than pate cat foods. It contains wild-caught tuna and whole food ingredients such as spinach, carrots, and cranberries which adds to the overall variety of the food. It is high in protein and excludes ingredients such as wheat, soy, gluten, carrageenan, and artificial colors that are known to trigger digestive sensitivities in cats. The Instinct mince and gravy cat food only feature natural ingredients with real meat to support healthy digestion well improving your cat’s skin and hair. This food is ideal for picky cats and the savory gravy with chopped mince is guaranteed to entice them. The packaging does have a few flaws as it is made of plastic and cardboard which the gravy can leak through. Due to the poor storage methods, this food can go rancid more quickly even if it has not been opened yet.


  • Enticing flavor and texture
  • Natural, wholesome ingredients


  • Low in fiber
  • Faulty packaging

Buyer’s Guide

Why Choose Limited Ingredient Cat Food?

There are many unnecessary ingredients added into cat food, and this can be avoided by choosing foods that claim to have limited ingredients on the packaging. This means that the food itself has easy-to-understand ingredients without exposing your cat or kitten to unnecessary or harmful additives.

Limited ingredient cat foods are better suited for cats who have allergies and food sensitivities. Many triggering ingredients such as wheat, soy, grains, gluten, corn, and artificial colors are excluded from the recipe to support sensitive cats and promote proper digestion.

What Types of Limited Ingredient Cat Foods Are There?

Choosing the right limited ingredient food for your cat depends on what type of food interests them.

Dry Food

This is the most popular type of cat food on the market. This type of cat food lasts for a long time and has a more diluted taste and smell than other cat foods. Dry limited ingredient cat foods are simple yet effective at offering your cat the main benefits of a limited ingredient cat food.

This type of food is typically higher in protein, fat, and fiber in comparison to wet or minced cat foods.

Recommended: Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food

Kitten Formula

This type of limited ingredient cat food has been specifically formulated with ingredients necessary for a young kitten’s growth and development. Kittens have faster metabolisms than adult cats and require more protein to fuel their energy levels and muscular development.

Recommended: Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food

Wet (Pate) Food

Wet cat foods are tailored towards more fussy cats who do not like the crunchy texture of kibble. Wet cat foods are more luxurious and have a higher moisture content. Another plus is that wet cat foods contain a concentrated level of protein, fat, and fiber so you can tell how much nutrition your cat is getting from each feeding.

Recommended: Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat Canned Cat Food

Mince and Gravy-Based Foods

This type of cat food is similar to wet pate cat foods, however, the mince pieces are finely chopped and separated. The texture may be more appealing to cats who refuse other types of foods. It is less slimy than wet cat foods and contains more moisture in the form of gravy.

Recommended: Instinct Grain-Free Minced Cat Food With Gravy

cat eating food from a bowl
Image Credit: Viktor Lugovskoy, Shutterstock

What Allergenic Ingredients Should You Avoid in Cat Foods?

If your cat is prone to allergies, these ingredients should ideally be avoided in their food:

  • Wheat
  • Grains
  • Soy
  • Gluten
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Artificial colors and flavors

Most limited ingredient cat foods will exclude this from the food’s formula, except if the flavor of the food is pork or chicken.



We have chosen two of our most favorite and recommended cat foods that contain limited ingredients that are wholesome and chosen wisely from the manufacturer. Our top pick is the Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food and our second favorite for a portion of wet cat food is the Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat Canned Cat Food. These two foods contain minimal and easy-to-read ingredients that are more beneficial to your cat’s health and no unnecessary additives are included.

Featured Image Credit: kholywood, Shutterstock


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